Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Eric Schultz At the Opening of the Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library in Lusaka

Thursday, June 8, 2017
U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz speaking at the opening of the Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library in Lusaka
U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz speaking at the opening of the Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library in Lusaka
(Photo courtesy of Lubuto Library Partners)

Good morning. I am honored to be here today as we celebrate the opening of the Lubuto Mthunzi Youth Library. This library represents the ongoing commitment of the United States to support Zambia’s development, in this instance by improving the lives of children and young people.

I would like to thank the Lubuto Library Partners for all the hard work they continue to do opening the doors to literature and learning. I also wish to thank our partners in the Zambian Government and other colleagues here today for supporting this unique occasion.

This library is unique in two distinct ways: not only was it supported by the U.S. Government through USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, or ASHA, but it was also made possible by the direct donation from a private American citizen, Judy Feedham, who is here with us today.

Started in 1947, ASHA has achieved a highly visible legacy by providing assistance to approximately 300 institutions globally, aiding in the development of innovative and state-of-the-art schools, libraries, and medical centers in more than 80 countries. The work of the Lubuto Library Partners promotes mutual understanding between the local community and the American people, based on a relationship of trust, and is emblematic of U.S. standards and ideals.

American values of volunteerism and community service are embraced by those who utilize Lubuto Libraries services, through programs that continue to grow to cover a wide range of innovative activities, including the PEPFAR DREAMS Innovation Challenge that, over two years, will promote more equitable gender norms and help more than 20,000 adolescent girls to stay in secondary school and remain HIV-free. 

Lubuto Library’s DREAMS programs showcase the innovation of the public library in the American tradition as an effective platform for HIV/AIDS interventions focused on teenage girls, a critical need in southern Africa where the majority of new HIV infections among adolescents occurs in girls between the ages of 15-24.

Carefully designed library facilities, such as the Lubuto Mthunzi Library, help to overcome gender practices that obstruct the full integration of girls and boys into society through greater social inclusion and more equitable access to quality education and health care. Lubuto Libraries provide educational opportunities where girls are fully integrated in a way that does not deny opportunities for boys.

In line with the American vision of a world where all children and youth, including those with special needs and different abilities, are able to realize their right to a quality education and are empowered to reach their full potential, this library will promote a stimulating, supportive, and safe environment. The quality and availability of learning materials at Mthunzi Centre will have a positive impact on children’s participation and learning achievement.

Thank you again to Lubuto Library Partners, the Mthunzi Center, our friends and partners in the Zambian Government, and community members for coming together to help support this partnership.

Lusaka, Zambia
Issuing Country